Help yourself by simplifying your small business social media.
You signed up to run a business and didn’t realize you’d also be the person in charge of your small business social media strategy. Independent stores of large franchise brands, as well as mom & pop businesses, face this same challenge.
When creating your small business social media strategy, there are many ways to approach it. What’s important is that you design a plan to which you can commit and that you can measure. Understanding your small business social media approach will help you decide later whether you were successful.
A simple and easy to measure approach is to manage your social media with one of two key goals:
- Community Building
- Business Building
Small Business Social Media Strategy: Community Building
Community Building is the creation of a digital presence – a place to be found – a place where your customers and prospective customers can stay up-to-date with what’s going on at your business.
In doing this, you create an engaging digital “place,” from which you can cultivate your marketplace – for both customers and prospective customers. You’re creating, “Hey, the water is warm, get in!”
Social media is uniquely positioned to do this, simply because of the nature of it. It’s a channel of communication that people have come to prefer, in general. It provides a much more immediate and low-friction channel than the previous years of:
- Writing a letter
- Making a phone call
- Sending a carrier pigeon
People can ask a question, comment, share, or even review your business, without a lot of effort. Over the holidays, more than once I wondered about the hours of a nearby business. Rather than going to their webpage, which isn’t quite as “real time” as social media, I went to their Facebook page to ensure that they were open.
There are several components to community building. Some include:
- Being on social media in the first place.
- Posting regularly.
- Sharing useful information on your social channels.
- Targeted advertising – the goal of which is to grow your social community.
- Responding to posts on your wall, comments, messages, reviews, etc.
If you read our blog regularly, you know that we strongly suggest mixing up the type of content that you share on your social pages. This is what creates the “ambiance” of your social presence. Think about how you respond to people with the following behavior on social media (and we’ll compare that to a business.)
- Friend A – Every single post is self-promotional. Always trying to get you to do business with him or participate in their current scheme. No one wants that filling up their newsfeed and no one engages with it. Maybe you just ask Facebook to “hide” that post, but maybe it prompts you to “unfollow” them or “unfriend” them completely.
- Friend B – Posts interesting, informative or entertaining posts, and periodically mixes in a post about what they’re currently working on. People often share, like and have fun responding to this person’s posts. The gentle reminder of their professional life is unobtrusive.
Which friend would you prefer? BE FRIEND B. Please.
Friend B builds communities.
Small Business Social Media Strategy: Business Building
The opposite side of this coin is called “Business Building.” Business building includes social tactics to achieve measurable business objectives, such as lead generation, sales, or other. These objectives are normally shorter-term objectives.
Ways to use social media for business building:
- Post about your products or services (but not ONLY about your products and services)
- Use engaging photography
- Targeted advertising that offers your products and services to people likely to be interested
Advertising on Facebook is something very powerful, as it’s providing a level of targeting not previously seen. This has tremendous value to small businesses, because you can target like crazy and not spend money advertising to people who have little likelihood of purchasing from you.
You can place an ad and request that it only be served to people meeting specific geographies, demographics, interests, etc.
Stop and think about this for a moment.
- You can target a 42 year old man who lives within 10 miles of your business and has interest in fishing.
- You can target a 24-42 year old woman who lives within 25 miles of your business and is interested in family entertainment.
- You can target teenagers interested in videogames.
Suddenly, that advertising budget seems like it will stretch a bit longer, doesn’t it?
So we can serve ads to the people most likely to take advantage of what we’re offering up. All at a cost that is madly competitive.
They key here is that the tactic of “growing your community” is different than that of “growing your business.” Community building success is indicated by growth in community size, and an increase in community participation through likes, comments and shares. Business building success is measured by the business objective.